Twitter suspends journalists’ accounts

  • 16 Dec 2022

Journalists from the New York Times and CNN are among those suspended for alleged doxing. The union has called Musk's actions hypocritical and a threat to freedom of expression.

The National Union of Journalists has urged Twitter to swiftly reinstate the accounts of journalists wrongly banned from the site. On 15 December, several journalists who had reported on Elon Musk’s suspension of an account sharing information on the location of his private jet, were left unable to access their Twitter accounts. Although the data shared by the account was available to the public, Twitter proceeded with the suspension.

In a tweet, Musk appeared to provide an explanation for suspending accounts, stating: “They posted my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service.”

The NUJ has grave concerns over the treatment of journalists on Twitter, particularly those who are critical of Musk’s actions.

Séamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary, said:

“It is the function of journalism to hold power to account. Elon Musk is one of the most powerful and influential figures on the world stage and the NUJ stands in solidarity with journalists banned from Twitter for fulfilling their role.

“This is a deeply worrying development and raises serious questions about the credibility of Twitter.

“There’s a long history of media barons resisting journalistic scrutiny. This decision reeks of hypocrisy and suggests that his commitment to freedom of expression does not extend to legitimate scrutiny of his own actions.

“Musk has already displayed contempt for employment rights and is now seeking to undermine professional journalists.

“We support calls by our colleagues in the US for a reversal of this decision.”

Musk has since tweeted asking users to vote on whether 'accounts who doxxed' his location should be unsuspended now or in seven days. 

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said:

"Musk's decision to  suspend journalists' accounts is highly controversial and will have a chilling effect on anyone who wants to cover and comment on Musks' activities.

"As the sole owner of the platform, Musk can reinvent the rules, suspend accounts and seriously harm media pluralism, thus denying twitter users the right to freedom of social and political use they previously enjoyed."

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